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What having a dog does to your Brain and Body

The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin is traditionally the way a mother bonds with her child.

The ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin is traditionally the way a mother bonds with her child. But scientists say it’s also behind another long-lasting relationship – between dogs and their owners.

Scientist and author Meg Olmert says a cuddle with your pup triggers oxytocin release, helping you to bond with your pet and alleviate stress. It also disperses the ‘pleasure hormone’ dopamine, boosting both your mood and long-term memory. Ms Olmert said that different breeds can illicit a range of hormonal responses in your brain, with social dogs like golden retrievers triggering a chemical release that is distinct from breeds that we perceive as aggressive, such as bull dogs

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